Natasha, April 18, 2018

Quotation from the blogger, Natasha

A diagnosis is a terrifying, yet relieving, confirmation. Confirmation that life shouldn’t be this hard. Many wait years until they are categorised by mental health professionals. And for many people, such as myself, a diagnosis can be a gateway to another difficult and long path.

Earlier this year, I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It was surprising and confusing for me, as the psychiatrist seemed reluctant to diagnose me with this “severe” mental illness. Yet, perhaps this reluctance and my confusion only reflects the stigma and lack of knowledge about those suffering and living with the ever-elusive BPD. I was initially misdiagnosed with depression (a characteristic that many with BPD struggle with) and as such, I began to climb my way up the ladder of support from mild to intensive and back again. 

Complex trauma, increasing stress and lack of purpose and knowledge of who I was led me to a workplace breakdown, attempted suicide and hospitalisation. Treatment in hospital is generally okay, but I was shocked to see the change in attitude towards me after my diagnosis. I was quickly discharged; with three helpline numbers and the promise that someone would eventually be in touch. It seems that BPD is the black sheep of mental health. 

I felt an immense pressure to take on a lot, so I could contradict the stereotypes that were newly attached to my name. I tried to focus on staying positive and seeing my discharge as a positive step in the right direction, but I still felt very confused with my diagnosis, as I was only given one sheet of information with the “signs of BPD” and its controversial status within the psychiatric profession. Perhaps this is because there seems to be so little research on this particular personality disorder.

So, I took to the internet and unfortunately, what I found didn’t provide me with much hope. 

We are considered: ‘controversial, manipulative, angry, attention seeking, self-destructive, unknown and suicidal beings.’ ‘Untreatable.’ ‘Resource consuming’ – ironic seeing as the few resources offered to us are rarities. When explaining my illness to friends, and even nurses, they tell me that they simply don’t understand.

The only way we can move forward in reducing stigma towards people like me, is to hit the nail on the head; to make it abundantly clear that this is not something I have chosen. I did not choose to be ill. I have a past, but I also have a future. I had a fully functional life before I was in hospital. My illness lived silently, and raved, alongside me.

But I am NOT Borderline Personality Disorder. I am the girl who worked hard. I held a job. I laughed. I have friends. I have a family. I have a future. I have a place at university. I had a mental health crisis. But that should not define me or the support I receive.

Read more personal stories >

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.

Comments

Read Natasha's story

It was me I had a breakdown at work and suicide attempt left to being beaten and raped while in Ridgeview Hospital in Atlanta. Police and husband did nothing. 4 years and nothing has changed. I was fine had a 20 year career then was bullied at work which created a downward spiral. Guess I have always had these symptoms but as long as I worked and had a purpose was Ok now a useless housewife and want to die I hate my life.

Sorry you're struggling

Hi Laurie, I'm so sorry to hear about your experiences - no one should have to go through that. Have you had any professional support? You say you want to die...are you suicidal? If you are in the U.S. you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Samaritans in the UK on 116 123. Take care of yourself, Dom at Time to Change

HI. Im a student nurse

HI. Im a student nurse currently caring for a patient with a query of personality disorder however they refuse to let the psychologist near them after mentioning PD. Thank you for posting your stories here you have helped me to start to gain an insight into how they think and how afraid they must be to have this diagnosis and the stigma that will be attached to it.

Keep the Inner Strength!

Well done Natasha for facing your diagnosis and accepting it. Acceptance is certainly the way to go when needing to find that inner strength we so desperately need to find on a daiy basis, and boy do we have to dig deep sometimes! Like you I was also misdiagnosed with depression when I was young and have only just recieved a correct diagnosis of BPD which makes more sense. I agree that once you start to look online there is so much negative press out there, and a lot of unjustified unkindness. A diagnosis is such an education though and we can take so many positives from it. Now we know what we are living with we can tailor our own self selp accordingly and try therapies that work for us. I had never even heard about Dialectical Behavioural Therapy until recently and it's been so interesting finding out about it and reading books. Maybe we won't get 'better' but one thing is for sure, with opening up, we will certainly get better at self management and expanding awareness is so important. We don't deserve the bad press. The neurological processes and biological factors that drive the brain to be how it is needs far more press than what the negative symptoms get. I am really quiet and more likely to get angry at myself than anyone else and when I get a temper on it mainly affects me internally and contrary to popular belief, we don't all go out and hit someone in an uncontrolled rage. I get depressed and euphoric but also paranoid and hallucinate, much of which I have kept to myself for fear of scaring people, until recently, when I decided to tell everyone I know. You find out who your true friends are and I'm sure, Natasha, there are pleanty around here who will feel akin to you and are happy to be reading your blog post. Good luck for your future, I think you will make the best of it.

Awesome survivor HIGH FIVE SISTER

Natasha THANK YOU for writing this I like you am a human with a past jobs, friends still in touch with some and determined to have a future. Unfortunately one of the symptoms of my BPD diagnosis is the ability to be in 2 places at the same time as medical records can't ever be wrong. Unfortunately I don't think that you would be suprised by the lies I've seen in official documents. My BPD diagnosis has left me terrified all the time especially of medical professionals and unable to sleep. It's strange as I used to have a paid job in a mental health hospital of all places as a Health Cate Assistant. Passed quite a few enhanced criminal record checks as well. However my BPD label (not allowed to mention not fulfilling the criteria) means I'm a nasty abusive violent person who must be punished severely if she is heard as well as seen. Sorry I forgot can't complain about anything I have BPD apparently. The BPD may not be real but the stigma attached most certainly is. BPD is usually formed by sexual abuse as a child I wonder how society would look at sufferers if it was recognised that a BPD patient is just an abused child who has never had the opportunity of the safety needed to grow up?

I was also diagnosed with BPD

I was also diagnosed with BPD. Not many people know about it, and it is very stigmatized. It is so hard to hard treatment for BPD.

What did you think of this blog? Tell us in the comments